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Jason Collins Takes Court as NBA's First Openly Gay Player

  • VOA News

Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins, right, is congratulated by fans after they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014.

Brooklyn Nets center Jason Collins, right, is congratulated by fans after they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014.

Jason Collins made U.S. sports history Sunday when he became the first openly homosexual player in the National Basketball Association.

Collins, 35, played several minutes as a substitute center for the Brooklyn Nets Sunday against the host Los Angeles Lakers, hours after he signed a 10-day contract with the franchise. It was Collins' first game since last season when he was a member of the Washington Wizards.

The 213-centimeter tall Collins made headlines last year when he revealed his sexuality after 12 seasons as an active NBA player, including several seasons with the Nets when they were based in New Jersey. Nets General manager Billy King said the decision to sign Collins was strictly "a basketball decision."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement congratulating Collins on his signing, saying he was "proud that our league fosters an inclusive and respectful environment."

Collins is one of a few professional U.S. athletes to openly admit to being a homosexual, and the first do so while an active player.

Earlier this month, U.S. college football star Michael Sam, a top prospect for the upcoming National Football League draft, announced he was gay. If Sam is drafted and secures a roster spot with a franchise, he will be the NFL's first openly gay player.

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